Sony Music Japan 

The first official collection of The White Stripes comes ten years after they disbanded; literally ten years as they split on 11th February 2011. The multi-almost undefinable genre duo made only six albums but sold millions upon millions and scooped uncountable accolades and awards in their brief eight-year album history. It’s quite an achievement, unlikely ever to be repeated in this digital era and I am the first to admit, as much as love them, I can’t define why I do. Suffice to say, this collection is a great way to celebrate their output and a thoroughly enjoyable set.


Two things to notice straight the way are the price, ¥2,500 + tax for a double disc set and Sony have gone to the trouble of mastering these discs with their BSCD2 process giving extra crunch, clarity, distortion or whatever the track calls for and splitting the tracks across two discs gives a bit more space for those sonics to be stored. Of the twenty-six tracks, sixteen were singles and ten are album tracks. They are not chronological order which not only gives the songs a fresh lease of life but displays just how consistent Meg and Jack were from album to album in production, writing, genre-mixing and performance. I played this a few times using my shuffle feature and no track ever seems out of order and I can’t think of many other bands I could say that about.


As with all compilations, it is subject to the choice of the people putting it together and whoever did this choose well. It is labelled ‘Greatest Hits’ but it is also a mini-anthology of sorts, the non-single tracks having seemingly been chosen not as fillers but to display their quite extraordinary diversity. Is there anything missing? Well, that would be your own personal choice as noted above but for me, no and not only that, if someone who had never heard them were to ask me to recommend a White Stripes album, I would recommend this set as a starting place and to branch out from there and I honestly could not tell you another compilation, by any band, that I could say that of.


Disc 1

1. Let's Shake Hands

2. The Big Three Killed My Baby

3. Fell In Love With A Girl

4. Hello Operator

5. I'm Slowly Turning Into You

6. The Hardest Button To Button

7. The Nurse

8. Screwdriver

9. Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground

10. Death Letter

11. We're Going To Be Friends

12. The Denial Twist

13. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself


Disc 2

14. Astro

15. Conquest

16. Jolene

17. Hotel Yorba

18. Apple Blossom

19. Blue Orchid

20. Ball And Biscuit

21. I Fought Piranhas

22. I Think I Smell A Rat

23. Icky Thump

24. My Doorbell

25. You're Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)

26. Seven Nation Army

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Sony Music Japan 

Aside from their own official bootleg series, Dream Theater have released eight live albums to date so the first question is, what does a ninth live album have to offer? It has been six years since their last live offering and in that time they have released two excellent studio albums also now changed labels. This set  - which was due to be performed in Japan this year – is a celebration of their highly acclaimed 1999 release Metropolis Part 2 – Scenes From A Memory and their most recent studio album, Distance Over Time (2019), an album that many people cited as a return to form.


The show was performed in two sets and first thing you notice is that the sound is heavier and there are more guts in the delivery of the material. This is more noticeable in the Metropolis half but the newer material benefits from it as well. Of the non-Metropolis songs, A Nightmare to Remember is the standout track for sound, instrumentation and feel but there are lovely moments scattered throughout and if this had only been an audio release, I would have said yes, it is worth adding to your collection. However, the real reason to buy this is the inclusion of the video, on Blu-Ray, in 5.1 surround sound.  Shot over two nights (using different camera angles on both nights) the picture quality and editing is pure eye-candy, aided with the advancement of video projection over the last twenty years. It’s bright, colourful, dynamic both visually and sonically and cuts to all the right players at the right time. A visual delight and to top it all off, the five discs come in two tri-fold digipaks housed in a slipcase, beautifully decorated with very British artwork, a twenty page full-colour booklet and an eight-page Japanese insert.


So, what does a ninth live album have to offer? Well, an awful lot as it turns out.


Track List

CD Disc 1

1 Untethered Angel

2 A Nightmare to Remember

3 Fall into the light

4 Bar Stour Warrior

5 In the Presence of Enemies-Part 1

6 Pale Blue Dot


CD Disc 2

1 Scenes Live Intro

2  Scene 1: Regression

3  Scene 2: I. Overture 1928

4  Scene 2: II. Strange Deja Vu

5  Scene 3: I. Through My Words

6  Scene 3: II. Fatal Tragedy

7 Scene 4: Beyond This Life

8 Scene 5: Through Her Eyes


CD Disc 3

1 Scene 6: Home

2 Scene 7: I. The Dance of Eternity

3 Scene 7: II. One Last Time

4 Scene 8: The Spirit Carry's On

5 Scene 9: Finaly Free

6 At Witz End

7 Paralyzed


BD Disc 1

1 Atlas

2 Untethered Angel

3 A Nightmare to Remember

4 Fall into the light

5 Bar Stour Warrior

6 In the Presence of Enemies-Part 1

7 Pale blue dot


BD Disc 2

1 Scenes Live Intro

2 Scene 1: Regression

3 Scene 2: I. Overture 1928

4 Scene 2: II. Strange Deja Vu

5 Scene 3: I. Through My Words

6 Scene 3: II. Fatal Tragedy

7 Scene 4: Beyond This Life

8 Scene 5: Through Her Eyes

9 Scene 6: Home

10 Scene 7: I. The Dance of Eternity

11 Scene 7: II. One Last Time

12 Scene 8: The Spirit Carry's On

13 Scene 9: Finaly Free

14 At Witz End

15 Paralyzed

16 Behind The Scenes